Chan Tsan Chao Vegetable’s Seed Shop
There is a shop in Kweilin Street in Sham Shui Po which looks like a nostalgic grocery store at first glance. From the ceiling hangs a round paper card saying there is charcoal for sale. On the two sides of the shop front, there are hand-drawn vegetable pictures, and also roughly-brushed words announcing “Professional Vegetable Seeds, Reliable Shop for over a Century”. This is in fact the 105 years old “Chan Tsan Chao Vegetable’s Seed Shop”. Mr. Chan Lai is the shop’s third-generation owner. Apart from looking after the shop, Mr. Chan often shares his experience with customers on growing vegetables and on using plants.
“Wash your hair with water that has been boiled beforehand with four taels of oil-tea camellia biscuit; this will protect your hair better than any hair conditioner.” Mr. Chan also teaches customers planting methods; when customers have obtained some useful information or have reaped a harvest, it gives Mr. Chan his happiest moments.
In a hundred years, the shop has sold seeds that have long since turned into green leaves and scattered all over this cement jungle of Hong Kong. While farming has truly gone to seed, Chan Tsan Chao Vegetable’s Seed Shop still retains its persistence and zeal, to be deeply planted into the hearts of old and new customers.